Ambiguity’ really isn’t a word that gets a lot of use in a positive book review. But, with regard to Paul Tremblay’s excellent novel, “A Head Full of Ghosts”, the lines of intentional ambiguity running throughout this book don’t confuse the reader but rather propels the story and builds an irresistible suspense in this quiet horror novel with a more literary bend.
And there’s the dreaded word ‘literary’. Having the effect on large chunk of readers similar to dumping a fresh wet turd in a punchbowl, causing them to curl their lip, back away, and ignore anything carrying that moniker. Mostly, this is because the term “literary” is closely associated to navel-gazing fiction that is inaccessible, deathly slow, and pretentious (at least in the eyes of certain beholders). I won’t delve deep into the tedious quagmire that is the literary vs. commercial fiction debate, but I’ll say that if you ignore this novel because some folk call it ‘literary’, then you’ve done yourself a disservice. Tremblay’s “A Head Full of Ghosts” is a completely accessible and thoroughly enjoyable book to a broad spectrum of readers, including those who consider themselves exclusive consumers of ‘literary’ or ‘non-literary’ fiction.